Italian Lagotto Romagnolo

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Italian Lagotto Romagnolo

Breed: Italian Lagotto Romagnolo
Temperament: affectionate, boisterous
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Recommended for: active families
Maintenance: medium to high


The ancestors of the Lagotto Romagnolo were water-retrieving dogs in the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna in northern Italy. When the marshlands were drained, the dogs were used to find truffles on the plains and hills of Romagna. They are sometimes known as Romagna Water Dogs. Today they are used throughout Europe as truffle hunters.


The Lagotto is a compact, medium-sized dog with a curly, waterproof coat. They have broad heads with rounded skulls, square bodies and long legs. Coat colours include off-white, white with brown or orange spots, brown roan, solid brown and solid orange. Some dogs have a dark mask. They weigh from 11-16 kg (24-35lb) and stand about 41-48cm (16-18″) tall.


Breeders say Lagottos are affectionate, easy to train and undemanding. They become very attached to their owners and make good companions and watch dogs.

Health and lifespan

The genetic breeding base of the Lagotto Romagnolo is only small, and as yet no serious genetic defects have emerged. They live from 12 to 14 years.


Lagottos do not have any special dietary requirements. They should be fed a diet based on good quality dried dog food such as is available at vets and pet food stores.


As there are so few of these dogs in Australia at present, potential owners will have to join a waiting list for puppies. When puppies become available, pets will cost about $1500 and show dogs around $2500. As Lagottos become more popular and their numbers increase, puppies will not be so expensive.

Housepet potential

Breeders claim Lagottos have non-shedding hair, similar to that of a poodle, so they will not drop coat on the furniture. They may also suit people with asthma, or those who are allergic to normal dog hair.

Space and exercise

Although a compact breed, Lagottos are a high-energy breed, and are not really suited to apartment living. They do best when regularly involved in outdoor activity.

Ideal owner

Lagottos are very good with children and make an ideal family dog. They also suit house-proud people who want a dog that won’t shed hair all over the carpet and furniture.


Lagottos have dense, thick, woolly, water-resistant coats. Once a year they should be clipped off completely, just leaving the head. Other than that the coat just needs to be scissored once or twice per year to keep it contoured and to remove the felted ends. They are easy to bath, and because of the lanolin in the coat they don’t need to be dried.


According to the New Encyclopedia of the Dog modern breeders have conflicting interests. While some selectively breed for natural hunting prowess, others are breeding for ‘dual purpose’ – both workability and companionship.


Breeders say Lagottos are easy to train and are very obedient.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)